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Why do Large Trucks Jackknife?

aftermath of a large red truck jackknifing

News stories of jackknifing big rigs causing hours-long delays on local highways are common. Jackknifing semis and tractor-trailers can be very destructive to nearby passenger vehicles. Have you ever wondered why these accidents occur, and whether they are avoidable? Read on to learn about causes of jackknifing, and possible liability when these accidents are preventable.

Jackknifing results from the powered drive wheels in the tractor portion of a tractor trailer coming to a sudden stop before the wheels in the trailer can be brought to a halt, causing those wheels on the trailer to continue traveling forward and bringing the trailer up toward the cab of the truck. Often, if the semi was traveling at highway speeds immediately before the incident occurred, the truck may also roll over. Jackknife accidents frequently result from a large truck losing traction with the road below, either as a result of water, ice, or another slippery substance on the road, or being struck by another vehicle or object. These accidents can also result from a sudden obstruction appearing on the roadway and a panicked braking response from the truck driver.

Generally, a truck driver can choose between multiple braking options to bring a large truck to a stop in an emergency. Should the driver choose incorrectly, the truck’s brakes can lock and cause the driver to lose control of the truck, causing damage to nearby cars. Preventable causes of jackknifing accidents can also include improper training of drivers by their employer, failure to properly maintain the truck’s brakes or instruments, or even reckless conduct by the truck driver, such as substance use or failing to take federally-mandated rest breaks. Being able to recover the full value of all your medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering often requires an experienced attorney familiar with the technical aspects of truck accidents, as well as the abundance of laws and regulations governing large trucks and semis. Ensure that you hire an attorney you can trust to handle your lawsuit for any injuries you experience.

If you have been injured in a truck accident with a semi, big rig, or tractor trailer in Southern California, contact experienced Palmdale and Antelope Valley truck accident attorney Paul Kistler for a consultation on your claims, at 661-206-6990.

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